Now Sir Henry was dead, after a large and lethal birthday dinner of champagne and crayfish, and after changing his will in favor of his glamorous young fiancee. And Troy was suddenly star witness in one of her husband's most sensational cases to determine which of the flamboyant characters brought down the final curtain, and turned a drawing room farce into tragedy.
©1947 Ngaio Marsh, Ltd.; (P)1994 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Nadia May's British accent and soprano voice perfectly capture Marsh's narrative. Her portrayal of the bizarre cast of characters is superb." (AudioFile)
Ngaio Marsh’s background in the theater (for which she was named a Dame of the British Empire) is evident in the “casting” of the characters that make up this ensemble. Sir Henry is a elderly, retired Shakespearian actor and head of a family full of people who are absolutely revel in their eccentricities. Indeed, the story begins when Sir Henry’s son arrives at Chief Inspector Alleyn’s wife’s London flat and begs her to do a portrait of his father. He dangles the eccentricities of his family before her, giving a quick sketch of all the personalities. Unwillingly, she becomes fascinated enough to succumb to his request.
Ngaio Marsh is known for her characterizations, and each of the characters is drawn with enough depth for us to see both redeeming qualities in the repellent and weaknesses in the most noble. You find yourself quite liking the tantrum throwing child, “Panty” and eventually becoming sympathetic to the common, gold-digging fiancée.
I love the stories in this series which feature Agatha Troy, Alleyn’s artist wife. This story occurs near the end of World War II when Troy and Roderick have been separated for several years due to wartime activities, and includes their reunion when Rory returns to England in time to solve the mystery. The glimpses of the British wartime lifestyle are an interesting backdrop to this tale, as are the jobs to which the Alleyn’s have been put by the war. Other stories which are key in their relationship include “Artists in Crime” where they first meet, and “Death in a White Tie” where Alleyn wins Troy’s consent to marry, and “Tied Up in Tinsel” is the story of another portrait painting job gone awry.
I recommend this mystery both as an interesting puzzle with a surprise ending, and as one of the milestone tales in the Alleyn’s personal lives in this wonderful series.
If Agatha Christie visited P G Woodehouse for the weekend, this is what you might get! It's a mystery, yes, but read or listen for the wonderfully eccentric characters, gathered for a birthday party that you just know won't end well. The plot structure is intersting: the first half centers around Inspector Alleyn's wife, included in the house-party as a sort of artist-in-residence; after the murder, she goes home and is replaced by the Inspector himself, down to investigate the crime. The narrator gets a big thumbs up.
I love Ngaio Marsh books and this is one of my favorites. I love that Agatha Troy has such a major part in the story. I love her and her relationship with Roderick. The odd cast of characters in the story are so much fun from start to finish. And Nadia May is the best.
Ngaio Marsh writes such classic stories that it reminds me why I like reading mysteries to begin with.
I love the Inspector Alleyn mysteries. The narrator does the voices pretty well too. I usually can figure out who the murderer is but this one had me stumped. Nice grow to Rory and Troy's relationship too. Very enjoyable listen.
Definitely, if they like classic British mysteries and great writing.
I enjoy any of Njaio Marsh's book that show the relationship between Alleyn and Troy. She is an especially delightful and unique character, and I find her refreshing and funny. It is a good mystery as well, with many quirky characters.
It would have to be Troy. I wish there were more books with her!
Maybe the time when Troy first realizes that all the strange events that have been happening at the house since she first arrived might be adding up to something quite sinister and dangerous, and she wishes for Alleyn's return.
Worth listening to a second time!
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Ngaio Marsh's work represents the upper-class parlor tricks mystery at its best. Today, it seems a bit arch and stilted, but it's a classic style and, in the right mood, can make for a great blast-from-the-past listen.
"Final Curtain" concerns a prominent theatrical family with a patriarch who is larger than life. The Great Man commissions Agatha Troy to paint his portrait for a grand occasion. It comes as no surprise to any of us that murder results and Troy's husband Inspector Alleyn is called in to solve the case.
There are red herrings and eccentric characters galore. Marsh brings everything together nicely - I think her books are rightly compared to Agatha Christie's, but I also think she writes with more skill.
Nadia May has the right voice for this genre. It's crisp and aristocratic.
I love Ngaio Marsh's mysteries, especially those with Agatha Troy in them. I also like the Nadia May reads the books.
Agatha Troy is my favorite character in all of Ngaio Marsh's books because she is so talented, smart and loving.
The scene where little girl Pansy is singing to the dead cat.
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